industry news

industry news

  Automotive industry news, it feels like nothing of what they say is really important but put it together and you will get the big picture before the others.

SRT Viper

While every other automaker on the planet is embracing change, SRT looks as if it is resisting the modernization of its Viper lineup. In an interview with Edmunds, Ralph Giles said that the SRT Viper will remain with only a six-speed manual transmission, while nearly every other sports car and supercar is heading toward offering at least an optional paddle-shift transmission.

Gilles had this to say about Viper buyers in relation to the paddle-shifted auto: "The people who buy (the Viper) relish the manual, they relish the driver’s car, the raw connections to the vehicle. That is what it is about. So we are not chasing rainbows here." We see your claim, Mr. Gilles, and raise you the fact that SRT had to slash the production of the Viper because they are growing roots in dealerships. Maybe you need to recheck the pulse of the American sports car buyer, sir... Just sayin’...

Edmunds then queried Mr. Gilles about the possibility of dropping a HEMI V-8 into the Viper, and releasing a less-powerful "entry-level" Viper to help boost sales. To that, Gilles answered, taking a jab at the Stingray in the process: "We have no interest in becoming a Corvette." Well, considering the Corvette is one of the hottest items available and the Viper is little more than dealership eye candy, he may want to rethink his position.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Viper, but the market has apparently spoken...

Click past the jump to read more about the SRT Viper.

Source: Edmunds
Mercedes C63 AMG Black Series Coupe

The collaboration between Daimler and Aston Martin hasn’t come to fruition yet, at least as far as tangible products are concerned. All that is still a couple of years from now, which is a pretty long time from now.

What we do know for the time being is that the two brands are teaming up to build, among other things, a new wave of V-8 engines that will combine the two most important things for vehicles these days: performance and fuel efficiency. Aston wants a piece of that AMG magic and why wouldn’t it, right?

But as far as showing the world that Aston Martin will be "AMG-fied," Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche is putting the kaboosh on rumors that future Aston Martin models will be carrying the AMG badge. Apparently, at least according to Zetsche, it won’t.

The Daimler boss man wants to keep the partnership as subtle as possibly, and any trace of visible AMG participation on those future Aston bad-boys isn’t in line with all that subtle thinking. He believes that customers will ultimately link the two and won’t need to be reminded that those V-8s under future Astons were co-developed by AMG. The connection will be organically figured out.

That’s all well and good, but here’s something we don’t understand, though. Why not do it anyway, Mr. Zetsche? It’s not like Mercedes and Aston are trying to keep the collaboration a secret. Wouldn’t it also be beneficial from a novelty stand point — even if it’s just in the beginning — to see all those Aston Martins with AMG logos on them?

One possible reason the two brands are trying to keep the partnership on the down-low is because they’re still competitors in some key luxury markets. That may be true, but that hasn’t stopped sister companies like Audi and Porsche from being competitors too, even if both brands fall under the same Volkswagen umbrella.

Ultimately, it’s not our decision, and Zetsche has every right to decide on these things for his company. But it still would’ve been cool to see an AMG-badged Aston Martin.

Click past the jump to read about an Aston Martin that could have its own AMG V-8 engine in the future, the still-to-come Aston Martin Lagonda SUV.

Source: Autocar UK
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Given the expansion of models Mercedes-Benz is going through these days, the company just might run out of letters to name its models.

According to Auto Express, the German automaker is reportedly working on a baby crossover , which it will slot just below the recently-revealed GLA-Class . The name of the model is the X-Class, and judging by its nomenclature, we won’t be surprised if Mercedes targets the young market for this baby crossover.

Besides, the CLA-Class needs a running mate, right? And what better model to do that than this reported X-Class.

On a more serious note, we don’t mind having a new Merc to choose from. Not that we can afford each and every one of ’em, but in a market where its competitors are doing their own expansions, Mercedes would be a fool to think that it can sit on its laurels and let its existing line do the fighting for them.

If the BMWs and Audis of the world are busy lining up new models for its customers, there’s no reason why Mercedes should’t do the same. There’s also some whispers that the X-Class isn’t going to be just one model, but an entire range of entry-level models that will give birth to other variants in the future. Maybe an XLA, or an X AMG?

It’s too early to say at this point, but if its the route Mercedes is choosing, we’re not going to stand up against it.

Click past the jump to read about the 2015 Mercedes GLA-Class, Mercedes’ smallest crossover SUV to date

Source: Auto Express
Michael Schumacher Suffers Head Injuries in Skiing Accident

It’s been a month since Michael Schumacher’s skiing accident and until now, his family has kept the progress of his recovery out of the media. But a recent report from French sport newspaper L’Equipe is claiming that Schumi could be slowly taken out of his coma.

“After four consecutive weeks of coma following his serious skiing accident of December 29, Michael Schumacher has been placed, according to our information, [in a] phase of gradual awakening," the newspaper reported, citing its own sources.

"It is a slow and uncertain recovery phase in the life that begins for seven time world champion.”

If there’s any truth to this rumor, it is great news and a sigh of relief for a lot of people who have been praying for the recovery of the seven-time Formula One champion. It’s going to be a tough road ahead for Michael and if he’s taken out of his coma, it at least represents the first sign that his health has improved since that fateful day last December.

His team, including manager Sabine Kehm, has refused to make any comments on his current status. But regardless of the information that is or isn’t being relayed, nobody can refute the fact that we’re all on Schumi’s side and we’re all still praying for a safe and speedy recovery.

Click past the jump to read about Michael Scumacher

Source: AutoWeek

McLaren’s brand expansion is now in full-swing and the latest reports indicate that the huge gap between the MP4-12C and the P1 will soon be filled by an all-new model.

The company is in the early stages of this new supercar , christened the "P15" prototype, but confirmation that the car is being planned was finally given by McLaren Automotive chief executive Mike Flewitt.

Speaking to Autocar, Flewitt characterized the development of the P15 as still "quite a long way off," which basically translates to "it’s not coming anytime soon." So that’s a bummer, if you’re not the patient type.

But if you are, this is tremendous news, especially taking into account the company’s stance of building and/or introducing a new model every year. This year, that model could very well be the P13 , another new McLaren that’s being billed as an entry-level model.

But the P15 is being pegged as a car that will rival the Ferrari F12berlinetta and will carry a price tag of somewhere around ₤400,000, which is about $662,000 based on current exchange rates. In addition, rumors point to the P15 using the same 3.8-liter, V-8, twin-turbocharged engine as that of the 12C, albeit one that will be heavily reworked to crank its numbers to the neighborhood of the F12berlinetta .

McLaren didn’t divulge any real details at the risk of spoiling all the surprises, but make no mistake, there’s a lot of buzz coming out of Woking these days. And for what it’s worth, it’s the kind of buzz that will be talked about by folks like us now and in the future.

For our part, we’re curious as to how all this shakes up when McLaren’s full slate of models are all up and running. It’s beginning to look more and more like it’s backing up its promise of building more models and like anything else, you’re not going to see too many complaints coming from us.

We also created a rendering of what we think the P15 may look like. You can see the clear relation to the P!, but with a pointier nose, more pronounced, downward-turning headlights, front vents on each side of the apron, larger rear air intakes with splitters and flatter hips. We’ll release more renderings once we get a few spy shots of the P15.

Source: Autocar UK
Lamborghini Urus

Ahh...the Lamborghini Urus. Long been rumored, but has yet to fully materialize. That’s been the case for the past few years, or at least back when Lamborghini first introduced the concept at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show.

Since then, we’ve heard very little of Lamborghini’s production plans for the SUV . That is until the North American International Auto Show earlier this month when Lambo CEO Stephan Winkelmann finally gave some indication as to what the company had in store for the Urus.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Winkelmann indicated that the company expects to introduce the Urus in 2017, pointing out that with the luxury SUV market continuing to grow, Lambo will have to bring its own baby to the party if it wants to get a piece of the market.

Well, look at that. Straight from the horse’s mouth. Not that it adds grains more of confidence in us. After all, 2017 is still a long ways away and there’s still a lot that could happen before that year arrives. Who knows, maybe the luxury SUV market craters before that and the Urus turns into the SUV-that-never-was.

But none of that matters now and we’re prepared to take Winkelmann’s timeline with more than a grain of salt. That’s how excited we are to see the Urus in production guise. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that Lamborghini feels the same way.

It’s saying all the right things, but at the end of the day, we’re not going to be excited until we see a production Urus in the flesh.

Click past the jump to read about the 2017 Lamborghini Urus

Source: Bloomberg

The Volkswagen Golf doesn’t carry nearly the same amount of cache as more powerful hatchbacks do, but when it comes to sports hatchbacks , you’ll find it difficult to name another one that’s as beloved by aftermarket company’s than the Golf .

As it is, the Golf’s reputation as a sports car trapped in a hatchback body has made it a tuning favorite, and the latest one to profess its admiration for the VW is Caractere, which is no stranger to working on Volkswagens .

The program is made up of both aesthetic and mechanical upgrades with Caractere working really hard to build a new aero kit that gives the Golf a more dynamic look and feel. The kit includes a new front lip spoiler, revised side skirts, a rear diffuser, a stainless-steel sports exhaust system and a new set of 18- or 19-inch CW1 light alloys. These five new elements play equally important roles on improving the Golf’s look, while also addressing the need for more performance balance brought about by the comprehensive engine tune the company gave it.

Speaking of the performance upgrades, Caractere offers a comprehensive program list that covers the full breadth of Golf trim models, beginning with the 1.6 TDI, which saw its output jump from 90 horsepower to 110 horsepower all the way to the most powerful Golf in the fold — the 2.0 TFSI — which increased its output from 270 horsepower all the way up to 310 horsepower.

It’s not the most mind-blowing Golf project we’ve seen, but in terms of overall likeness and authenticity, Caractere’s program for Volkswagen’s resident sports hatch gets high marks from us.

Click past the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Golf VII

Source: Caractere
McLaren MP4-12C

With all the attention the Ferrari 458 Speciale has received since it was introduced late last year, McLaren appears to be itching to build something similar for the McLaren 12C. And before you wonder what the 12C GT Can-Am Edition is for, it’s best to remember that it’s actually more of a race car than a high-powered road supercar .

So Autocar is reporting that a hardcore 12C is in the works and this one will be a direct competitor to the 458 Speciale. That’s just awesome because nothing excites us more than two esteemed premium brands answering each other’s limited-edition exotics with one of their own. That’s like Katy Perry inventing a new dance routine to combat Miley Cyrus’ twerking.

Ok, we’re digressing...

In any case, the rumored "hardcore 12C" is being tipped to carry the same twin-turbo 3.8-liter, V-8 engine as that of the standard 12C. The only difference is that the former will have an improved version of the said powertrain, with performance numbers rumored to hit close to 650 horsepower.

Should those numbers be accurate, that would give the McLaren a significant performance hit compared to the 458 Speciale. It’s also important to point out that the rumored 12C will come with a host of aesthetic and aerodynamic upgrades, including a design that will have some influences from the McLaren P1 to go with extensive use of carbon-fiber monocell and enhanced aerodynamic capabilities.

So prepare yourselves for a big year for McLaren. At the very least, Ferrari should be looking out for this rumored high-end 12C because there’s a good chance that the bar will once again be raised in this never-ending game of supercar supremacy.

We’ll be sitting by the couch with the popcorn ready.

Click past the jump to read about the McLaren MP4-12C

Source: Autocar UK
Cadillac ATS Coupe

Cadillac’s been making waves this week for all the right reasons. Days after it debuted the all-new ATS Coupe , the U.S. manufacturer confirmed that the car’s performance-oriented trim, the aptly named ATS-V , will have performance numbers that would put it right smack in the middle of the BMW M3’s crosshairs.

According to Motor Trend, the ATS-V will carry a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V-6 engine that will produce 425 horsepower — the exact same output as its German competitor. More importantly, or at least until we hear more about it, Caddy also has plans to build an even more powerful ATS-V, which will reportedly be called the ATS-V+. That one is expected to use a bigger V-8 engine that could potentially have as much as 500 horsepower on tap.

These announcements carry a lot of significance for Cadillac in its attempt to be a player in the sports coupe segment. With plenty of European brands staking their respective claims in the U.S. market, America had to be represented. Cadillac is trying to answer that call and judging by the way the ATS was received at the North American International Auto Show , there will be a lot of interested folks out there waiting to for the company to develop the ATS-V.

Note: Photo is of the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

Click past the jump to read about the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

Source: Motor Trend
Nissan IDx Nismo

Sometimes, automakers tend to outsmart themselves more than they should, and in this instance, Nissan really needs to think long and hard about its plan to produce road models for the twin IDx concepts it first showed at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show.

According to Autoweek, Nissan is seriously considering it, provided that it gets some serious support from fans of the company. The problem is, it shouldn’t because neither of the IDx concepts, at least in their current guise, deserve a place among Nissan’s current lineup.

Make no mistake, it’s always a good idea to have an affordable rear-drive coupe, but Nissan already has one in the 370Z and last we checked, that model’s doing quite well for itself. Nissan can point to the success of the Toyota GT86 and the Subaru BRZ and see how having its own will make it more competitive in that specific segment.

The company said that if there’s money to be made from it, it’s pushing forward with its plan. All that may be true, but we don’t think the iDX concepts are the answer, partly because they look really good as concepts, but once you turn them into production cars, neither looks as appetizing as you might think.

If we were Nissan and we really want to give the rear-wheel sports coupe market a run for its money, we’re going to give full attention to giving the 370Z a complete overhaul. It’s not exactly a confidence builder either when you hear the company say its production plans for the iDX concepts will be in small volumes and that the only way the plan will be green lit is if there’s strong demand for it.

Nissan’s already throwing all these conditions up for the pair of concepts and that doesn’t invite confidence in us. So if you’re listening, Nissan, drop the production plans for the iDX concepts and focus on a next generation 370Z that will come with all the bells and whistles you would’ve put on a production iDX. If anything, the 370Z deserves that kind of love.

That’s the prudent thing to do as far as we’re concerned.

Click past the jump to read more about the pair of Nissan iDX Concepts

Source: AutoWeek

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